NATIONAL NEWS - The SA Pagan Rights Alliance (Sapra) is laying a hate speech complaint against Gauteng education MEC Barbara Creecy, according to a report on Thursday.
The Citizen newspaper reported that pagans all over South Africa had voiced their disapproval of a statement Creecy made on Monday.
"The practitioners from faith-based organisations are developing an anti-harmful religious practice strategy to guide and protect learners from spiritual attacks and abuse," she said at a press briefing.
The "harmful practices" included Satanism and occultism.
She was speaking at a signing ceremony with religious groups, to develop an "anti-harmful" religious strategy in schools.
"The practitioners from faith-based organisations are developing an anti-harmful religious practice strategy to guide and protect learners from spiritual attacks and abuse," she said.
Sapra spokesman Damon Leff told the paper the MEC's statement was hate speech and they would complain to the SA Human Rights Commission.
"The MEC's statements regarding 'occultism' and 'Satanism' constitute hate speech against religious minorities who have nothing to do with the recent cases of alleged Satanic activity.
Octarine Valur of the SA Vampyre Alliance (SUBS: CORR) told the paper Creecy's statement was creating hostility towards religious minorities.
"This encourages prejudice and intolerance towards these groups, and may even contribute to violence against those whose dignity and right to religious freedom is being made out to be a criminal offence."
The SA Human Rights Commission said it had not received Sapra's complaint.
"As a commission we had not received any complaints from Sapra by end of day yesterday [Wednesday]. When it comes in we will deal with it," SAHRC spokesman Isaac Mangena said.
He said most people who made such statements through the media had a tendency of not following up with the commission.
A number of killings linked to satanic activity had been reported since last year.
In the most recent case 17-year-old Keamogetswe Sefularo was stabbed on March 1, allegedly by a friend on their way home from Lukhanyo Secondary School in Mohlakeng, near Randfontein. She died in hospital. The 15-year-old suspect was in a juvenile facility until her court appearance on April 26.
Ten pupils had been suspended at the school pending investigations into the alleged satanic murder of Sefularo, SABC news reported on March 6.